The murder trial for a man accused of stabbing a father of five to death in a road rage incident last year began in a South Bay courtroom Thursday morning.
Rickey Smith, 60, is accused of stabbing Horace Williams, 36, on the bridge between Chula Vista and Bonita just after 9 a.m. on November 27, 2018.
Smith faces one count of first-degree murder.
Smith and Williams got into an altercation near the intersection of Willow Street and Sweetwater Road, said prosecuting attorney Carder Chan.
Williams -- a father to five daughters, all under 10 -- had just dropped his daughters off at school.
Chula Vista Police Department Capt. Phil Collum said witnesses spotted the men yelling at one another as they drove in what he, at first, called a "rolling altercation."
Investigators said that as the dispute escalated, Smith pulled up alongside Williams and allegedly threw a soda at him.
Moments later, Smith pulled in front of Williams' van and slammed on his brakes, causing Williams to rear-end him, according to police.
Following the fender-bender, Smith got out of his truck, approached Williams and, according to witnesses, punched him through a window.
San Diego defense attorney Brian Watkins claimed Smith approached Williams' window to ask what the problem was and was struck by Williams who then reached under his seat for something. Watkins said there are “two sides to every story.”
“When you understand it from Rickey Smith’s perspective and judge it from Rickey Smith’s preceptive, you’ll know, this isn’t any sort of cold blooded killer,” Watkins said.
Then, prosecutors said Smith stabbed Williams seven times with a retractable blade knife -- including twice on the chest, puncturing his heart, as well as wounds to his hand, forearm, and leg, according to prosecutors.
“He drove this knife into Mr. Williams again and again. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven times,” Chan said in court Thursday.
That knife was found in Smith's belt when officers arrived, according to the CVPD.
San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said the killing of Williams was "callous and very vicious."
“I use the words callous, vicious and violent; I believe that’s exactly how you describe this,” Harvey said. “There was some incident between these two men in their vehicles but what the defendant then did by getting out and coming up to the window, and to begin punching a man who was seated in the car, and then to begin stabbing him is certainly very callous and very vicious.”
Smith waited at the scene and cooperated with police as they began questioning him. Ultimately, he was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder.
Smith was not injured in the altercation.
A GoFundMe page was set up for Williams’ family. The page said Williams was “a funny, laid back, genuine and amazing person.”
Smith was deemed fit to stand trial on April 3, 2019. Chan said the trial is expected to last upwards of two weeks.
If Smith is convicted of first-degree murder, he faces 26 years to life in prison.